Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran Death Sentences

About this Item
SpeakersMacDonald Mr Scot
BusinessAdjournment, ADJ

Page: 4703

The Hon. SCOT MacDONALD [9.25 p.m.]: I bring to the attention of the House the current issue of two New South Wales residents who currently are facing the gruesome prospect of death by firing squad for their convictions in 2005 on drug smuggling charges in Bali, Indonesia. Both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are from Sydney. Andrew was born in Sydney in 1984 and is from a very hardworking family. He attended Homebush Boys High School and Belmore Boys High and is known to friends and family for his sense of humour and his passion for sports. Myuran, whilst born in London in 1981, is an Australian citizen who migrated to Australia with his family in 1985. Having grown up in the western suburbs of Sydney, Myuran also attended Homebush Boys High School where he became friends with Andrew. After high school, both Andrew and Myuran entered the workforce and held several jobs in Sydney.

In 2005 Andrew and Myuran were among seven others who were arrested in Bali for attempting to traffic heroin to Australia. They were both tried and convicted in Denpasar District Court and in 2006 were sentenced to death by firing squad for their crimes. Both men lost two appeals in 2006, following which they both made attempts to turn their lives around whilst being held in Kerobokan Prison. Andrew now acts as a mentor to other inmates, counselling and assisting them through difficult times. In addition, he has found the Christian faith after a period of deep self-reflection and is currently taking a course in theology and studying to become a pastor. He also runs the English Language Church Service in the prison and has stated that his Christian faith has helped him to cope with life in prison. Andrew has been described by the prison's Governor Siswanto as a model prisoner who has had an extremely positive effect on other inmates. Myuran also aims to give back to the Indonesian community and is currently teaching computer and graphic design courses at the prison, which are essential job skills. He is also in the process of establishing a drug counselling program in the prison.

Most recently, both Andrew and Myuran lost their final right of judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011, which confirmed the death sentence for the two convicted men. At that final appeal Governor Siswanto gave evidence that he believed Myuran to be a well-behaved prisoner who has turned over a new leaf and was unlikely to commit similar crimes in the future. He asked that Myuran be spared from the shocking execution of death by firing squad. Andrew and Myuran's last chance for survival now rests in the power of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to grant clemency. As an admirer of the proud, successful sovereign nation of the Republic of Indonesia, I acknowledge that the crimes committed by both Andrew and Myuran are a great insult to both Indonesia and Australia and, clearly, are deserving of a long period of imprisonment. I respectfully ask, however, that a grant of clemency be extended to Andrew and Myuran so that they may be spared the painful execution of death by firing squad.

Both men have admitted to committing the crimes for which they have been convicted and have admitted to acting in selfish and greedy ways in the past. As I stated, both men have reformed and are now doing all they can to reform others. This is clear evidence of their dramatic self-transformation, which cannot be denied. I strongly believe that the right to life must not be ignored or taken from anyone and that a non-violent crime should certainly not be met with an extremely violent and tortuous execution. Their deaths undoubtedly will cast a shadow over our shared history and would be inconsistent with the Indonesian focus on law and order and the significant value of clemency, particularly given the obvious reformation of both Andrew and Myuran. In the interests of justice and humanity, I ask that the lives of Andrew and Myuran be spared and a grant of clemency be granted. I acknowledge Melissa Ardita, the intern who helped to prepare this speech.